POWAY, CALIF. — A community is once again in mourning, following the latest incident of gun violence at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue, some 30 miles north of San Diego.
The incident took the life of 60-year-old Lori Kaye, whom witnesses say was gunned down as she saved her rabbi.
Three others were sent to the hospital, including the rabbi.
They all joined in prayer Sunday night at a vigil.
Saturday was supposed to be a holy day for the Jewish community — shabbat, which ends the Passover tradition.
But instead, 19-year-old John Earnest allegedly opened fire at the congregation with what has been described as an assault-style rifle.
“Indescribable — here is a young man standing with a rifle pointing right at me… my first concern was what’s with Lori. Where did that noise come from. What’s happened to Lori and as soon a so I did that I took a look and more shots came running at me… more shots came running at me and I lifted up my hands. I lost my index finger on this hand… just miraculously the gun jammed and in attendance at the synagogue there was a border patrol of duty agent,” said Rabbi Yisroel Goldestein.
The suspect was then apprehended with the help of that agent.
Like in past mass shootings, a community is coming together with a series of interfaith vigils and contributing to the makeshift memorials.
“We’re just here to show our support to our community and we live in this community it’s a very tight-knit community therefore just to show our love for the community that’s why we come here.”
This is the third attack on a synagogue in the past six months.
“We are a Jewish nation that will stand tall that will not let anyone of anything take us down. Terrorism like this will not take us down,” said Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein.”
About 25 hundred Filipinos live in the quiet, upscale San Diego suburb.
Many more live in the surrounding towns, and most of them were shocked.
“It was devastating when I heard it when I saw it in the news yesterday. Actually I got a notification from our church saying that something happened over here. I was so curious and when I saw the news it was very heartbreaking. Until now it’s heartbreaking.”
Sources have told us the synagogue has several Filipino members, including a Filipina who teaches at the school.
And while they’ve declined to speak to us, choosing to mourn privately, the community has been standing strong behind them.
“We love you. This whole town loves you and we’ll be there with you.”
Memorial services for Kaye are scheduled to take place Monday.
The 19-year-old suspect is due in court for his initial appearance on May 1st.
Before the shooting, Poway has consistently been named the safest city in San Diego — but this incident proves, no community is completely immune to these types of tragedies.